Finally, there is some clarity on the fate of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati and it comes from none other than Central Board of Film Certification chief Prasoon Joshi. Talking to India Today after rumours began spreading in the media that the Censor Board had suggested 26 cuts in the film as well as a change in the title, Joshi said there was no truth to this. “To set the record straight, there are no cuts suggested in the film by the CBFC, only five modifications,” Joshi said. The modifications suggested are:
- To change the disclaimer clearly to one that does not claim historical accuracy.
2. The title is to be changed from Padmavati; the discussed change is ‘Padmavat’ as the filmmakers have attributed their material/creative source to the fictional poem Padmavat and not history.
3. Make modifications in the song Ghoomar to make the depiction befitting the character being portrayed.
4. To modify the incorrect/misleading reference to historical places.
5. Add a disclaimer which clearly makes the point that the film in no manner subscribes to the practice of Sati or seeks to glorify it.
According to Joshi, director Bhansali and producer Viacom 18 were completely in agreement with the modifications suggested by the CBFC. These decisions were taken on Thursday evening after a viewing held for the examining committee members of the CBFC and a special panel including Arvind Singh Mewar from Udaipur, Dr. Chandramani Singh and Professor K. K. Singh of Jaipur University. The Censor Board will grant the film a U/A certificate after these modifications are implemented.
Explaining the need for the special panel, Joshi told India Today, “Padmavati was approached with a balanced view keeping in mind the filmmaker and society. Considering the complexities and concerns around the film, the requirement of a special panel to add perspective to the final decision was felt by the CBFC.”
Padmavati drew protests in Rajasthan where the caste group Karni Sena alleged that the film distorts history. Without seeing it, Karni Sena leaders and several politicians claimed that the 13th-century Queen Padmini had been disrespected by Bhansali in the film. They feared that she was shown by the filmmaker to be romantically involved with the Muslim conqueror Alauddin Khilji. Despite Bhansali’s denials about this, several BJP-ruled states including Rajasthan banned Padmavati with their chief ministers declaring they would not permit it to screen even if it was cleared by the censor board. Padmini, according to legend, was a Rajput warrior queen from Chittor in Rajasthan who set herself on fire to save her honour after Khilji defeated her husband in battle.